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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

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man calls for more than an education in the three R's. The way
of escape from the crushing of individuality by the political and
industrial systems is not to be got simply by affording the bare
minimum of education that will permit everyone to take a part in
determining the conditions under which he has to live and work.
It involves, over and above that, the higher education that opens
up the spiritual realms of art, literature and religion in which a
man is most completely free, and consequently calls for an
education in the great human interests. So far this has only very
partially been secured for the mass of the people ; but it is coming
to be recognized more and more as one of the urgent needs of the

At this point the democratic movement in education receives
reinforcement from the older educational tradition. With all its
limitations that tradition has always been essentially humanistic.
It has made the study of the noblest expressions of the human
spirit the main concern of the schools. It is true that the literature
on which it has hitherto depended for cultural development has
been almost exclusively that of the ancient world; and to that
extent it has been aristocratic in character, since only a small
section of the community enjoys the leisure required for mastering
the Latin and Greek which open the portals to this study. But
this restriction is not essential to the idea of humanism. After all
that can be said as to the virtue of classical learning has been
admitted, it still remains true that the central principle of the old
tradition is that literature in any form and in any language is the
means of intellectual salvation. Hence it is possible for those who
wish the education of the people to have a spiritual basis and those
who uphold the study of the classics to unite in recognizing the
importance of the literature of their own people for the children
of a modern nation, and so prevent education becoming a narrow
training either for mere work or for mere citizenship without
reference to the deeper needs of the human soul. As a matter of
fact, the study of the mother tongue and of the literature written
in it has found increasing favour with educators in all lands during
the last half-century; and there is every reason to believe that
it will play an even greater part in the education of the future.
Whatever place be given to Latin and Greek or the modern
languages in our educational systems, popular culture must
inevitably be reared on vernacular foundations.